It's not like everyone else is standing with their mouths open while Shin drives to the hole (alert: basketball metaphor!). It's just that it's damn hard to keep up with her. Mariajo Uribe was -8 for the tournament after making a birdie on the par-3 13th, but bogeyed her next 3 holes to drop back into a tie with Kerr, Pettersen, and the Brittanys (Lang and Lincicome). Morgan Pressel and Ya Ni Tseng shot fine 68s (the former with 4 birdies in her 1st 7 holes and the latter with 6 birdies in a 7-hole stretch midway through her round) yet lost ground, as did 69ers Ochoa and Kristy McPherson, who joined them at -4. Miyazato battled back on the back for a 72 that gave her a chance to extend her streak of LPGA tournaments without shooting a single round over par to 6 (oh, and in the 4 JLPGA events she played since her last over-par LPGA round on Sunday in the Women's British Open, she's had a grand total of 3 rounds over 72--that's 3 since early August!!), but by failing to break 70 for the 3rd-straight round (dating back to Sunday in the Mizuno Classic), she's given herself quite a mountain to climb over the next 36 holes.
Speaking of near-insurmountable obstacles, the only year-end trophy Ochoa may be able to garner in 2009 after her own tournament is complete could well turn out to be the Vare Trophy. By my unofficial count, though, her current season scoring average of 70.2179 has already fallen behind Shin's 70.2143. Kerr is a little less than .08 behind Shin, while Miyazato has fallen over .1 off the pace. Unless we see something incredible from someone else over the final 6 rounds of 2009, there's no one else on that dance floor.
The end of the season brings home the fact that every shot matters. Who will make theirs matter the most?
[Update 1 (11:59 pm): Credit where it's due: Stephen Wade filed a good AP story.]
[Update 2 (11/14/09, 12:26 am): Golf Channel has to be pretty happy with those final pairings:
Start Time: 12:01 PM
Start Time: 12:12 PM
Start Time: 12:23 PM
Ya Ni Tseng
Start Time: 12:34 PM
Start Time: 12:45 PM
Start Time: 12:56 PM
More Solheim Cuppers and Major winners than you can shake a stick at. Now if only Natalie Gulbis hadn't WDed!]
[Update 3 (10:58 am): No rest for the young and talented! Chinese media are reporting that Ya Ni Tseng has committed to the year-end joint KLPGA-CLPGA event--and that Ji-Yai Shin is close to entering the field, as well.]